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Saturday, October 18, 2003

Time to read the writing on the sukkah?

Brooklyn shuls vandalized
Voice of Judea
Tishrei 19, 5764 (Wed. Oct. 15)

Two synagogues in Brooklyn were vandalized this week. A stained-glass window was broken and a sukkah vandalized at Congregation B'nai Jacob, and a rock was thrown through the front door of the Shore Park Jewish Center. Police are investigating both incidents.

Palestinian Hamas members dressed as suicide bombers march during a funeral in Rafah refugee camp, in southern Gaza Strip, October 18, 2003. Israeli forces killed a senior member of the Hamas group, another Islamic militant and a woman bystander in fighting at a Palestinian refugee camp in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, medics said. REUTERS/Andrea Comas

Young Palestinian boys watch militants from Hamas dressed as suicide bombers pray during the funeral of Tariq Abu Hussein, the leader of the militant wing of Hamas in Rafah, at the Al Awdah Mosque in the the Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, Saturday Oct. 18, 2003. Hussein was killed during clashes with Israeli troops during an incursion in the Salam neighborhood Saturday. For more than a week, Israel's military has been operating in the southern Gaza town of Rafah in what the army says is an operation to find and destroy tunnels used by Palestinians to smuggle weapons across the Egyptian border into Gaza. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)

Friday, October 17, 2003

Did I read this right? "The Poisoned Well"

Op-Ed by Fouad Ajami in today's NY Times
If I read this right, it's the most ludicrous whine I have ever heard. While the Israelis were making the desert bloom with fruits and technologies and universities and symphonies, the poor Arab countries were suffering the repercussions of enormous wealth. Nowhere is it mentioned how they might have dealt more productively with such a curse, or what they might do to heal from it in future.

According to Ajami, who teaches Middle Eastern studies at Johns Hopkins University, the great promise of Arab "petromoney" was that it would enable poor, unskilled societies to join "the era of technology and industry." The new wealth would "secure the withdrawal of Israel from the lands it occupied in 1967" (though Ajami doesn't elaborate on how, exactly). "Everywhere in the Arab world there was a palpable sense of excitement, of defeats avenged. Nothing was out of reach." History, or Allah, was bestowing a blessing on Arabia comparable to the rise of Islam in the seventh century; it was to be "piety's vindication."

Over the last three decades, that magnificent blessing somehow morphed into a curse. Rather than "make" the Arab world, petromoney - along with the "hucksters and peddlers" who followed it - "bulldozed" the Arab world. It separated the people into beggars and kings, drove a wedge between traditionalists and the newly Western-assimilated, caused slaughter, ruin, and a population explosion. It gave birth to Osama bin Laden.

Thirty years of Arab history and all Ajami can do with it is to romanticize the "harsh, simple existence" lived in the pre-OPEC Arab world, and then lament the great loss of it.

Blessing, curse, it all comes out of nowhere - or from Divinity - and none of it, not the least of it, has anything to do with what Arabs actually did or do with what came their way. There is no assumption of responsibility - in the past, for the past or looking toward the future. Conspicuously absent are the concepts of fixing, struggling, working, making or building . There is just this incessant whining.

Unfortunately, the Times eats it up.

Easterbrook and the Kill Bill brouhaha

what goes around (the blogosphere) comes around
On Monday, Gregg Easterbrook, a senior editor of the New Republic Magazine, attacked the movie Kill Bill and its writer/director Quentin Tarantino for glorifying violence. In the process, Easterbrook criticized Miramax which released the film, and its parent company, Disney, as follows:
"Set aside what it says about Hollywood that today even Disney thinks what the public needs is ever-more-graphic depictions of killing the innocent as cool amusement. Disney's CEO, Michael Eisner, is Jewish; the chief of Miramax, Harvey Weinstein, is Jewish. Yes, there are plenty of Christian and other Hollywood executives who worship money above all else, promoting for profit the adulation of violence. Does that make it right for Jewish executives to worship money above all else, by promoting for profit the adulation of violence? Recent European history alone ought to cause Jewish executives to experience second thoughts about glorifying the killing of the helpless as a fun lifestyle choice. But history is hardly the only concern. Films made in Hollywood are now shown all over the world, to audiences that may not understand the dialogue or even look at the subtitles, but can't possibly miss the message--now Disney's message--that hearing the screams of the innocent is a really fun way to express yourself. "
The antisemitic connotation therein soon raised a ruckus in the blogosphere. My favorite was the commentary of highly-regarded writer and blogger, Roger L. Simon, who proceeded to go off on Easterbrook in a post he titled "Racist Garbage in the New Republic":
"If the Jew Harvey Weinstein... or any other film executive of any race... were to have turned down Tarantino's next film, the chances are they would have been either ridiculed or fired. He or she also would have been accused of censoring a supposedly great artist. And this is not, Earth-to-Easterbrook, restricted to venal Hollywood. It's the same in the entire film world from Bollywood to Cine Citta. And guess what--some of those exploiters of violence are not Jewish.

So what does that make you?

As the Academy Award-nominated screenwriter of a movie about the Holocaust, Mr. Easterbrook, I think I have earned the right to say this: You're an asshole."
Lots of other bloggers held forth quite well, notably Meryl Yourish:
"First you slam the Jews for worshipping money above all. Then you say that they should know better than to produce films where whole families are slaughtered, because whole families were exterminated by the Nazis, thereby drawing a parallel between, gee, fact and fiction.

If I follow that line of thought, I get confused. Is it only going to be a matter of time before there's a fictional Holocaust, or will the money-grubbing Jewish executives who distribute violent films cause real violence because of the violent messages they're sending?

Recent European history alone ought to cause Jewish executives to experience second thoughts about glorifying the killing of the helpless as a fun lifestyle choice.

That is one unbelievable ethical standard to hold Jews up to. That's right, the Jews have to be the most righteous among all nations, because six million of ours were slaughtered. Your logic is missing a crucial step here, though. The Jews weren't slaughtered in the Holocaust as a result of people reading the violent popular fiction of the day. The Jews were slaughtered because of bigotry and hatred.

Come to think of it, back in the 1930s, people were blaming Jews for being money-grubbing worshippers of the almighty deutschmark at the expense of the Fatherland's more moral Germans. So if one is going to draw a parallel here, one might draw one at Easterbrook's slap at Jewish movie executives, rather than comparing their financing of a film hack to drawing down the responsibility of Arab terrorism on their heads."
Then the New York Times picked up the story, asserting that "Mr. Easterbrook said he planned to apologize." Indeed he did: "Of mangling words, I am guilty . . . What I wrote here was simply wrong, and for being wrong, I apologize."

Rather than calming the outraged, however, Easterbrook's apology seems to have set off another round . Leading the second charge, I believe, is Abe Foxman, National Director of the ADL, who issued an official statement finding Easterbrook's apology "insufficient."
"Sadly, instead of making a clear apology and a rejection of anti-Semitic stereotypes, Mr. Easterbrook says he "wrote poorly" and was misunderstood. Mr. Easterbrook's remarks reflect either absolute ignorance or total bigotry. We find it hard to fathom that a senior editor at The New Republic could have absolutely no knowledge of the hateful canards about greed and Jewish moneylenders that have contributed to two-thousand years of persecution against the Jewish people."

Whew. If you're looking for more, The Young Curmudgeon has a link to all the "widespread internet reaction." I have nothing to add . . . except maybe this.

hint: it's not Abe Foxman

Israel's "Black Hebrews" given permanent residency status

Now eligible for citizenship

"Black Hebrews" dance in Dimona, Israel, celebrating their new permanent residency status (photo: Haaretz).

I don't know how I missed this story back in July. This report from KYW-TV in Philadelphia:
Israel's "Black Hebrews," a close-knit group of vegan polygamists who arrived in the country from the United States in 1969, are celebrating the government's announcement that they are finally eligible for citizenship in the Jewish state.

In the desert town of Dimona in southern Israel, home to about 1,500 Black Hebrews, there was a feeling Monday that a 34-year history of statelessness was coming to an end with news of their permanent resident status.

"There's going to be a lot of dancing, singing, shouting and eating," said former Chicagoan Adiv Ben-Yehuda. "It's the greatest day since the community arrived in Israel."

Other members of the 2,500-strong group live in Arad and Mitzpeh Ramon, other towns in Israel's south.

As permanent residents, members will be able to serve in the Israeli army and establish their own residential communities, an Interior Ministry statement said. Ministry spokeswoman Tova Ellinson said that under normal practice, permanent resident status would lead to full citizenship after an unspecified period of time.

"We're ready to take on responsibilities and obligations as permanent members of the community," said Ben-Yehuda, 50, a former college basketball player with two wives and 12 children. His American drawl is undimmed after 30 years in Israel.

The exodus from Chicago of the Black Hebrews -- the self-styled African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem -- is one of the stranger odysseys of the 1960s. To read the rest, click on the link above.
Zionism is Racism.

UPDATE - Arab bombing of U.S. convoy
. . . a Palestinian government official, who would not be quoted by name, said that if Americans were targeted, "it would not be coincidental that it came a day after the U.S. vetoed a U.N. resolution against Israel's fence, and a few days after the U.S. said Israel had the right to destroy houses in Rafah, and a week after the U.S. said it was okay for Israel to attack Syria, and after a period when it was impossible to distinguish between America's Middle East policy and [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon's Middle East policy."

Full report at Washington Post

Sukkot 5764 draws to a close

According to Arutz Sheva over 400,000 will have visited the Kotel
The day is marked by "Hakafot" - joyous dancing and singing with Torah scrolls as an expression of the Jewish people's happiness at having received the Torah and the opportunity to study it and be governed by its lessons. "Hakafot Shniyot" (Second Hakafot) celebrations throughout the country tomorrow night will mark the conclusion of the holiday.

In other Sukkot news, police estimate that well over 400,000 people will have frequented the Western Wall by the end of the holiday - a record amount. Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, Western Wall Rabbi, expressed his satisfaction: "These are people who feel a deep connection with Jewish culture and tradition in general, and with the Jewish People's holiest place in particular - a remnant of the days in which the glory of the Jews who ascended to Jerusalem on the holidays flooded the holy city." Among the visitors was Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, the venerated Torah sage who recently recovered from a serious illness and who arrived at the Wall daily to recite the blessing over the Four Species.

Sukkot in Hebron

Ultra Orthodox Jews tour the West Bank town of Hebron during the Jewish feast of Sukkot. (AFP/Menahem Kahana)

Israeli soldiers escort Jewish settlers [Jews] to a visit in a religious site, traditionally believed to be the burial site of of Biblical Judge Othniel, son of Kenaz, in the Palestinian-controlled area of the southern West Bank city of Hebron Oct 12, 2003. Hundreds of people visited Hebron Sunday during the Jewish holiday of Succot. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)

Sukkot in Jericho
Supporters of a Jewish presence in Jericho will commemorate the third anniversary tomorrow of the Palestinian arson of the ancient Shalom al Yisrael synagogue outside the city. The wood synagogue was torched by an Arab mob in October 2000, and the wood structure was burnt to the ground; local Arabs prevented Israeli fire trucks from putting out the fire. The Torah scroll in the Holy Ark was saved, however.

Beginning at 4 PM tomorrow and throughout the night, Torah lessons will be held at Hoglah, the closest Jewish location to Jericho. Hoglah currently has two structures and one family, and can be reached by passengers on the #961 bus from Jerusalem who alight at the Mul Nevo army base.

New Poll of Palestinian opinion

85% say they want mutual ceasefire, but 75% support bombing Maxim restaurant in Haifa
A new poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah is covered at length in today's Jerusalem Post. Here are some of the highlights:
75% of Palestinians support the suicide bombing of the Maxim restaurant in Haifa in which 23 people were killed.

85% of Palestinians want a mutual ceasefire, but only 59% would support the PA taking measures by to prevent attacks on Israelis.

Arafat's popularity is at the highest in five years, yet 82% believe the Palestinian Authority is corrupt.

Attitudes towards the US administration and its Middle East policy are very negative:

97% believe the current US policy toward the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is biased in favor of Israel.

96% believe that the US is not sincere when it says it works toward the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

39% believe that armed confrontations and terror will not stop and negotiations will not resume soon.

78% believe the US roadmap for peace is dead.
The center, headed by Khlail Shkaki, conducted the poll between October 7th-14th October 2003 in the Palestinian areas. There is a 3% margin of error.

Masked Palestinian gunmen observe Friday prayers outside the mosque in the Rafah refugee camp, in southern Gaza Strip, October 17, 2003. U.S. mediation in the turbulent Middle East diplomacy was brought into sharp focus on Wednesday by the killing of three U.S. embassy guards in a Gaza Strip bombing, an unprecedented attack that prompted an intensive FBI and Palestinian probe. An FBI team arrived in the region and met Palestinian investigators probing the attack late on Thursday at Israel's Erez crossing to Gaza, Palestinian security sources said. REUTERS/Andrea Comas

Israeli soldiers meet members of an FBI team at the Erez crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip Friday, Oct. 17, 2003. Later Friday the FBI team met with Palestinian officials as part of a joint investigation into a deadly bombing of a U.S. convoy. The team of investigators, including explosives and forensics experts, arrived in Israel on Thursday. (AP Photo/Gadi Kabalo)

Malaysian Foreign Minister: No offense intended
Malaysia's foreign minister has apologized for what he described as any misunderstandings over PM Matathir's assertion that Jews "rule the world," saying no offence from the remarks was intended. He said further that it is important to realize that Islam is not anti-Jewish and the problem lies with Israel: "The only problem with Jews is when the State of Israel was created."

It may not be all that important that the outgoing prime minister of Malaysia called the Muslim world to unite for "final victory" or that he asserted "1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews." But as the editors at JewishComment.com point out, what is chilling is that his speech received a standing ovation from the hall filled with Mulim leaders from 56 countries across the world.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, right, with the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO)'s politburo chief Faruq Qaddumi during a meeting on the sidelines of the 10th Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) summit in Putrajaya.(AFP/Bernama)

Anyone who has even the vaguest interest in baseball should read Charles Krauthammer's Baseball is back. You've gotta love it.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Jewish cemetery desecrated in Germany

BERLIN (Reuters) - A Jewish cemetery in Germany was desecrated by suspected neo-Nazis who painted swastikas and anti-Jewish statements such as "You got what you deserved" on gravestones, police in the town of Beeskow said Thursday.

It was the latest in a long series of attacks on Jewish cemeteries and followed a similar act of vandalism at a cemetery in the central city of Kassel last weekend when 42 gravestones were painted with the Nazi greetings "Heil Hitler" and "Sieg Heil."

The desecrations also followed the arrests last month of several people with links to the far-right scene suspected of planning a bomb attack on a Jewish institution in Munich.

Police in Beeskow, a small town east of Berlin, said the vandals also painted "Crap on the 6 million lie," a reference to the 6 million Jews killed by Germany in the Holocaust, as well as "Jews keep out" and "Sieg Heil."
Google News has ZERO hits for Beeskow + "Jewish cemetery." Looking more simply for "jewish cemetery" I came across this, which may also be of interest to readers of this blog:

CNN.com mangles facts in Jerusalem feature by CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America:
CNN excludes issues crucial to understanding the status of Jerusalem. Instead, readers are presented a one-sided account that ignores key historical facts and de-emphasizes the centrality of Jerusalem in Judaism.

CAMERA has been in contact with CNN about the feature’s inaccuracies, omissions, and improper editorializing. Some sections were subsequently revised to enhance their accuracy, but numerous articles continue to misinform.

Also found this timely reminder - "The big lesson is not just the evil but the indifference" - in a moving story here.

Earlier this week, Scotland Yard issued a warning to Britain's Jewish community that it faced imminent terrorist attacks. Suspicious Iranian activities in the last few weeks raised concerns when police spotted and questioned a group of Iranian "tourists" taking covert videotape of Jewish community buildings in London. Although specific attacks cannot be predicted, urgent measures MUST immediately be taken to warn the regime in Tehran not to target British Jewry or her institutions.

There is currently an unprecedented level of threats against Jews in Western Europe, primarily from extremist Islamists. The recent reports suggesting an Iranian link are all the more ominous since the Iranian authorities were behind the murderous bombing of the Jewish community building in Buenos Aires in 1994 which left 85 dead and hundreds injured, and the Tehran regime still openly calls for the Jewish State's destruction.

It is critically important that the British government, supported by the European Union, France, Germany, and Japan, all of whom have important economic ties in Iran, act now to send an unequivocal message to Tehran that the civilized world will not accept further threats to its citizens spawned or supported by the Tehran regime's hatred of the State of Israel.
Join the Simon Wiesenthal Center in urging British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to take immediate and direct action to thwart the latest terrorist threats emanating from Iran.

In the case of the U.K., the potential marriage of Iranian state sponsored Jew hatred and contemporary terrorism demands that new levels of intelligence and security measures be taken, as well as a new commitment by the world's democracies to fight antisemitism in all its forms and manifestations.

Can't wait

So, nu? More from Malaysia
Muslim leaders will back beleaguered Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and reassert their support for the uprising against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, according to a draft resolution.

The draft resolution approved by OIC foreign ministers and obtained by AFP condemns Israel for its "continuing crimes, slaughters and its repressive acts against the Palestinian people".

It applauds the "legitimate leadership commanded by president Yasser Arafat in the face of Israeli aggression" and demands the immediate lifting of restrictions imposed against Arafat and the Palestinian people.

The draft resolution pays tribute to the "just resistance of the Palestinian people and its heroic intifada to recover its national rights."

It demanded Israel stopped "aggression, killing, destruction and violation of holy Islamic and Christian places" and reaffirmed its goal of achieving an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

76 days left to sign

We the undersigned, endorse the following petition:
"The Palestinian authority must be accountable for ending incitement against Israel."
Sign here.

This petition is sponsored by Stand With Us and Co-Sponsored by the Coalition for Jewish Concerns--Amcha, Hasbara Fellowships of Aish HaTorah, South Area Israel Action (SAIAT), The David Project, Join the Boycott, The Council of Israel Community (CIC)& Manchester Zionist Central Council Media Response Group.

Disturbed by good intentions

by Avi Weiss, senior rabbi at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale and president of AMCHA-The Coalition for Jewish Concerns
Early one morning this past July, I arrived with a group of colleagues at the Belzec death camp in southeast Poland. A thick layer of bone and ash covered the ground as far as the eye could see. Mass graves surrounded us. A dog roamed freely through the camp. Heavy construction equipment stood everywhere.

I watched as a crane plowed into the earth, lifted a pile of dirt and dumped it out. Could that earth, I wondered, contain the remains of the members of my family who had been murdered here -- my uncle Chaskel Weiss, his wife, Mania, and their two children, ages 9 and 10; my aunt Chaya Yehudit, her husband, Moshe Meir Zeigeltuch, and their 11-year-old daughter, my cousin Brucha Teme'le, whose photograph my father carries in his wallet to this day?

We had come to Belzec to investigate reports that the remains of the dead were being desecrated in the process of constructing a memorial at the site. As I watched the crane dislodging the earth before me, I was convinced that I was witnessing a continuation of the greatest violation ever of the Holocaust dead. The design selected for the Belzec memorial -- an enormous trench running through the camp -- has massively disturbed, and will continue to disturb, the bones and ash on the camp's surface and the human remains that lie beneath.
Continue reading at the Washington Post.

And more at the AMCHA website.

Nobody sent me a joke, but I found a cartoon and a funny line
The cartoon is from the official Palestinian Authority newspaper, Al-Hayat-Al-Jadeeda, and can be seen at LittleGreenFootballs, while the funny line is among DEBKA's headlines:
"As Palestinian authorities began detaining suspects in Gaza Strip, Arafat told BBC there was no indication that Palestinians were responsible for attack."
Put the two together and you'll see it's a joke.

If you believe Al Bawaba,

Syrian President calls Bush Administration "fanatics" and warmongers, Israel a "terrorist state"
Funny, supposedly sane liberals in this country are saying the very same things. What strange bedfellows.

Either the news today is "over the top" and life as we once knew it has spiralled desperately out of control, or I've just blown my circuits on the Malaysia story below. Make of this one what you will. I refuse to link to these:

Anybody out there have a good joke? I'm in sore need of one. My email address is in the blurb at the top left. Please hurry. -Yael

Malaysian PM Calls on Muslim World to Unite for "Final Victory"

"1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews"

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, pictured on a video screen, addresses the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) during of the opening of the two day Summit Thursday Oct. 16, 2003 in Putrajaya. (AP Photo/Ed Wray)

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia - Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday told a summit of Islamic leaders that "Jews rule the world by proxy" and the world's 1.3 billion Muslims should unite, using nonviolent means for a "final victory."

Mahathir, who is known for his outspoken, anti-Western rhetoric, criticized what he described as Jewish domination of the world and Muslim nations' inability to adequately respond to it as he opened the meeting of Islamic leaders from 57 nations.

Here are some excerpts; I'm not certain of the order in which they were spoken. -Yael
"We are actually very strong. 1.3 billion people cannot be simply wiped out. The Europeans killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million, but today the Jews rule the world by proxy," Mahathir said. "They get others to fight and die for them."

"We are up against a people who think. They survived 2000 years of pogroms not by hitting back but by thinking. They invented Socialism, Communism, human rights and democracy so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong, so that they can enjoy equal rights with others. With these they have now gained control of the most powerful countries and they, this tiny community, have become a world power."

"Today we, the whole Muslim ummah (community) is treated with contempt and dishonor. Our religion is denigrated. Our holy places desecrated. Our countries are occupied. Our people starved and killed."

"We need guns and rockets, bombs and warplanes, tanks and warships for our defense. But because we are discouraged from learning of science and mathematics as giving us no merit for the afterlife, today we have no capacity to produce our own weapons for our defense. We have to buy our weapons from our detractors and enemies."


Malaysian Prime Minister Matathir . . . with Iranian President Khatami

. . . with Indonesian President Sukarnoputri

. . . with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf

. . . with Russian President Putin

. . . with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah

. . . with Afghan President Karzai

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said he supported Mahathir's analysis, which also included steps for how Muslim nations can develop economically and socially. "It is great to hear Prime Minister Mahathir speak so eloquently on the problems of the ummah (Muslim world) and ways to remedy them," Karzai said. "His speech was an eye-opener to a lot of us and that is what the Islamic world should do."

U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia Marie Huhtala declined to comment on Mahathir's speech.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Jonathan Peled expressed disappointment in the remarks but said he wasn't surprised. "It is not new that in such forums there is always an attempt to reach of the lowest common denominator which is Israel bashing," he said in Jerusalem. "But obviously we'd like to see more moderate and responsible kind of declarations coming out of such summits."

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, said Mahathir has used anti-Israel statements in the past to prove he's tough on the West. But, he said, Thursday's speech was still worrisome. "What is profoundly shocking and worrying is the venue of the speech, the audience and coming in the time we're living in," Cooper said during a visit to Jerusalem. "Mahathir's speech today is an absolute invitation for more hate crimes and terrorism against Jews. That's serious."

The ADL today urged leaders of civilized nations to condemn the speech. Abraham Foxman: "This is nothing more than a call to Holy War against Jews. It is grotesque anti-Semitism on an international scale. Mahathir's speech needs to be condemned by responsible leaders of the civilized world as an unacceptable outrage and an affront to civilized society."

IRONIC TIDBIT found on the web:

Malaysia's national anthem was written in 1937 by a Jewish composer living in Malaya, J.A. Redhill, also known as Reutenberg, a refugee from Russia.

Boker Tov, Boulder!
CU Panel coming up: "Two States or One?"

CJP - Coalition for Justice in Palestine - issued this press release

Two States or One?

What: A panel discussion on the one state and two state solutions

Who: Dr. Ira Chernus, Aref Nammari, Joel Edelstein, Bassem Hassan

When: Wednesday, October 22nd at 7pm

Where: CU Boulder Campus, MCDB A2B70

Why: There has been much talk about why the so-called "Road Map" and other peace processes have not worked. Although CJP has no official position on a one state or two state solution, as an organisation aimed to educate our community, we feel it is imperative to dispel any and all myths regarding such solutions and to learn about what each really means.

Panelist Bios (quotes in italics are my addition -Yael):

Dr. Joel Edelstein produces public affairs programs on KGNU-FM, Boulder County Public Radio and when needed serves as Interim Director of News and Public Affairs. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of Colorado at Denver, and has held the posts of Political Science Department Chair and Interim Dean of the Graduate School.

10/01: "For the American government to respond in a way that I would consider constructive would include the establishment of democracy in the United States." - Joel Edelstein

Bassem Hassan is a Ph.D candidate at the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver. He is currently working on his dissertation entitled, "Globalization, the State and Women in Egypt." He received his MA and a Certificate in Human Rights from the same institute. His Master's thesis was on Palestinian Refugees.

Ira Chernus is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has served as co-director of the University's Peace and Conflict Studies program. His political commentaries appear regularly on www.commondreams.org and are heard bi-weekly on public radio station KGNU in Boulder.

10/11/02: "Most Palestinians are not educated anti-Semitically, most accept Israel's right to exist, and most want nothing to do with violence against civilians . . .. End the occupation. Get to know the truth about Palestinians. Recognize that most Palestinians want only to be left alone, so that they can form their own nation. That is the only way for them to get the safety they so rightly long for." - Ira Chernus.

10/23/02: " . . . the vast majority of Palestinians have never personally perpetrated violence against Israelis. Any of them could. Very few do. Most Palestinians choose to have nothing to do, personally, with the violence. It would be a great step forward if they condemned the violence practiced by the few. But people who support the Israeli government's violent policies hardly have any moral standing to condemn the few Palestinians who do practice violence, nor to condemn the majority who see and approve that violence." - Ira Chernus

Aref Nammari is a Palestinian who grew up in Jerusalem. He is an advocate for a single democratic and secular state in Palestine/Israel and the spokesperson for the Colorado section of the Association for One Democratic State in Palestine/Israel.

01/01: "The Clinton plan is nothing more than a disguised attempt by Israel to continue the subjugation of the Palestinians. The proposed Palestinian State will be under Israeli control and mercy. Further, the right of return of Palestinan refugees is not a matter for negotiation. It is a basic human right as guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and various UN resolutions. The Palestinians chose peace and justice for justice is the garantee of peace and there can be no peace without justice." - Aref Nammari, in a letter to phillynews.com

Contact CJP for more info: 303.492.8567 or write cjp@colorado.edu

PLUS CCMEP - Colorado Campaign for Middle East Peace - holding rally October 25 in Denver
Their notice:
This is just an early invitation to join Colorado Campaign for Middle East Peace in a Rally at the State Capitol Building in Denver at 1 PM on Saturday, October 25th. (NB: always on Shabbos)

Theme will be "End the Occupation of Iraq, Bring the Troops Home."

We are planning this rally to be in solidarity with International ANSWER and United for Peace and Justice who are planning a national action on the same day with the same theme.

CCMEP is taking the lead in planning this rally, but please put this on your calendar, websites, and send this out to all your activist friends. If you have ideas for us or would like to offer assistance or co-sponsorship, please let me know.

Kate Goodspeed, 303-333-2410, goodkate88@yahoo.com

Palestinian children burn Joseph's Tomb

Following the visit of 500 Jewish worshippers overnight Wednesday, Palestinian children threw burning tires into Joseph's Tomb

Palestinian school children enter Joseph's Tomb, where Jews believe the biblical Joseph is buried, near the West Bank city of Nablus some two hours after a fire was set there Thursday Oct. 16, 2003. Palestinian children burned the holy site earlier Thursday, which was nearly destroyed by Palestinians three years ago when fighting between Israelis and Palestinians erupted. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)

Palestinian children search debris in the Joseph's Tomb damaged by Palestinians in the West Bank city of Nablus, October 16,2003. A group of Palestinian children threw burning tires into the tomb following the visit of some 500 Jewish worshippers overnight Wednesday with the consent of the Israel Defense Force. REUTERS/Abed Omar Qusini

Natan Sharansky: Temple Mount is more important than peace
"It was not for the sake of peace that the State of Israel was established, and it was not because of peace that millions of Jews gathered here.

Nor was it peace for which the Jewish people prayed for thousands of years. The Jewish people prayed for Jerusalem. Because of Jerusalem, the Jewish people returned to Israel from the four corners of the earth, for it they were willing to ake all the necessary sacrifices. For that same dream of a thousand generations - 'next year in rebuilt Jerusalem.' "
Read it all at Haaretz.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Oy, gevaldt

Durban activists were funded by FORD FOUNDATION

If you have any tears left, this could make you cry. Part 1 of this special investigative report by JTA reveals that
. . . funding for many of the groups that fueled anti-Israel activity at a U.N. conference on racism came from the Ford Foundation. One of America’s largest philanthropic institutions — and arguably the most prestigious — the Ford Foundation was a multimillion-dollar funder of many human rights NGOs attending Durban.

. . . Ford has extended more than $35 million in grants to some 272 Arab and Palestinian organizations during the two-year 2000-2001 period alone — the most recent years for which data is available — plus 62 grants to individuals that total more than $1.4 million, according to Ford’s Web site, as accessed in mid-October 2003.

Since the 1950s, the foundation’s Beirut and Cairo offices have awarded more than $193 million to more than 350 Middle East organizations, almost entirely Arab, Islamic or Palestinian.

Ford’s Web site, at www.fordfound.org, offers detailed information about its Middle East grants. On the site as of mid-October, “Palestine” is frequently mentioned on its Mideast pages, but Israel’s name is absent. Moreover, the Web site’s shaded map of the geographical region from Egypt to Lebanon and Jordan blanks out over Israel’s territory, even though Ford does make grants to both Jewish and Arab organizations in Jerusalem.

Initially, despite more than two dozen requests by phone and in writing over a period of several weeks, the Ford Foundation’s communications vice president Alex Wilde, deputy media director Thea Lurie and media associate Joe Voeller refused to answer any questions or clarify any issues regarding the foundation’s funding of groups engaged in anti-Israeli agitation and anti-Semitic or anti-Zionist activity.

However, after this investigation was completed, Wilde did send a six-page written statement, declaring, “We have seen no indication that our grantees in Durban or elsewhere engaged in anti-Semitic speech or activities. The Foundation does not support hate speech of any kind.”
And that's just a tiny excerpt from Part 1. You can access all four parts at JTA. Kudos for an amazing piece of research.

If you need background information on the conference at Durban, go to the ADL website and enter "Durban" in the search box. You'll get 74 hits.

Internet Haganah's timing right on target

Report on POPULAR RESISTANCE COMMITTEE just days before they bomb American convoy

A week ago today, Internet Haganah published a report on the Gaza terrorists, Popular Resistance Committee. The PRC, consisting of Fatah and Islamist groups affiliated with Hizballah, has claimed responsibility for today's attack on an American diplomatic convoy in Gaza. (The diplomats, from the American embassy in Tel Aviv, were travelling in Gaza to interview Palestinian candidates for Fulbright scholarships. The last car in the convoy contained their security guards, and was decimated by a remote-control explosion. Three were killed and one wounded.)

Lucky for us, the web presence of the PRC is in the sights of Internet Haganah. Chillingly, the website noted is "housed" in Parsippany, New Jersey.

SEE THE FULL REPORT, and don't leave without contributing (via PayPal) to this herculean effort.

As usual, my gratitude to Internet Haganah. Superb work. Kol hakavod!

AP photographers "embedded" with terrorists

How else could they get a shot like this?

A masked Palestinian militant carries a homemade mine as he walks toward an area where Israeli troops are positioned in the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2003. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra).

DEBKA headlines

Listing terrorist outrages against Americans around the world, the US President ended with Gaza, adding “We must not forget the lessons of September 11, 2001.”

Names of victims published in Washington are John Branchizio, 36, Mark T. Parson, 31, John Martin Linde Jr., 30.

"Popular Resistance Committee” takes responsibility for US diplomatic convoy bombing in Gaza Strip. Committee made up of Arafat’s al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Hamas and Jihad Islami, is headed by Arafat’s man in Rafah, Jamal Samadaneh.

Bomb detonated by remote control by operator who must have recognized American target. All vehicles in assaulted convoy bore diplomatic plates. Car numbered CD15-833-2 carrying security guards was totally destroyed by estimated 30-50-pound anti-tank mine similar to those used against coalition forces in Iraq – Fox TV.

Palestinian police collect evidence . . . (AFP/Mahmudq Hams)

AP reporter saw wire and switch leading to nearby concrete building

FBI will lead investigation. US State Department urges all Americans to leave Gaza Strip and exercise caution in West Bank, asks for Israeli assistance in evacuation. Injured man flown to Beersheba hospital.
Scroll down for more news on this morning's terrorist bombing in Gaza.

Gaza "deaths"?

I just can't stand the media bias
It's Terence Hunt again (see below) - or maybe his editors came up with this headline -

Obviously, any moron could tell that the bombing of an American diplomatic convoy in Gaza this morning was an act of war, or at the least, intentional murder. The three Americans who were killed did not suddenly expire on their way to interview Palestinian candidates for Fulbright scholarships:
"The [explosive] device went off near a gas station on Gaza's main north-south road. The explosion tore the van in half and left the wreckage twisted with the tires up in the air. The pavement was stained with blood and littered with bits of flesh.

An AP reporter saw a gray wire with an on-off switch leading from the scene of the attack to a small concrete room at the side of the road."
This was an ATTACK, a murderous terrorist attack. Why can't the AP admit that? According to this same article, even Colin Powell admits that the Americans were "murdered by terrorists."

Hmmm, I wonder what he thinks about The Fence now?

Bush blames . . . whom?

According to Terence Hunt, AP White House Correspondent, ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE,
"President Bush blamed Palestinian authorities Wednesday for the deaths of Americans in an attack in Gaza, saying their failure to create terrorist-fighting security forces "continues to cost lives."
Now, was that "Palestinian authorities" or "The Palestinian Authority" ?

With deep diplomatic meaning dripping from every word the President utters, can it be that we may never know? Did the President misspeak? Did the reporter misrepresent? What does it all mean?

Stay tuned . . .

President Bush steps off Air Force One as he arrives in Fresno, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2003.
(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

UPDATE: It's "Palestinian authorities." See White House press release.

'Israel Inspires' some pretty weird feedback

Rutgers sophomore Maziar Shirazi rendered her opinion in yesterday's Daily Targum, calling the 'Israel Inspires' event a "campaign to promote political ignorance," accusing the Israeli army and orthodox Jews (along with jihad fighters) of "willfully" killing innocent people, and declaring that "in a Jewish state, non-Jews are second-class citizens" - yet she proclaims to take "no side in the conflict."

Shirazi majors in Spanish, not history or logic.

Herewith, her full rant, published in the Rutgers Daily Targum, under the twisted title,

Questioning justifications for democracy:
The article "Sixty profs. protest Israeli speakers" (The Daily Targum, Oct. 9), said professors expressed "grave concern" at "the role Hillel has recently come to play in the promotion of the extreme right on campus." Half of the article was actually about the statement; the other half was Hillel's opinion about it. In the same issue, there were more than five pages dedicated to advertising the "Israel Inspires" event and right-wing Zionist beliefs. That's about 14 percent of the whole newspaper. Part of the bigger problem the professors talked about is the less-than-respectable degree of fairness with which the Targum printed opinions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The "Israel Inspires" event is a campaign to promote political ignorance thinly veiled behind mindless, fast-food patriotism, and the free press is taking sides.

Is the "Israel Inspires" event about peace and democracy? Let's take a closer look. It unequivocally supports the Israeli government, its prime minister and the right of Israel to "exist within secure borders." I fail to see how this supports peace: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is considered a war criminal by most of the world, including thousands of Jews, and is hated by Palestinians. Among other things that he has done, he was found responsible for the 1982 Lebanese refugee camp massacres in which officially over 800 innocent people, mostly women and children, were killed. An Israeli investigation of the massacres led to his stepping down as minister of defense. Somehow his rise to power again has coincided with the gruesome downward spiral of the peace process.

Within the last week, Israel dropped bombs into Syrian territory, by definition an illegal declaration of war. The United States has pointedly refused to condemn this. Furthermore, illegal Jewish settlements such as Ariel - built inside internationally recognized Palestinian territory - has Israel building another Berlin Wall that includes land stolen from Palestine. Apparently, Israel has not inspired much peace as of late. The "Israel Inspires" campaign says Israel has a right to exist within secure borders. Why are Palestinian homes being demolished for new Jewish settlements?

How does Israel inspire democracy? Racism and sexism are quasi-institutional in Israel. The Falashmura, or Ethiopian Jews, have to be "reconverted" and re-married in order to be considered Jewish citizens in Israel because they are not considered Jewish in the European sense. Asian and African Jews are underrepresented in the Knesset (Jewish parliament) and are by far the poorest Jewish demographic in Israel. Rich, white, Jewish men control Israel's government and economy.

I also learned women in Israel not only do not have the same rights of worship as men, but they cannot divorce their husbands without permission. The Equal Rights for Women Law, enacted in 2000, leaves family life to religious jurisdiction - a key factor in women's rights. An Israeli women's network, Mevoi Satum, estimates 97 percent of women denied divorce by their husbands are physically abused. Furthermore, non-Jews must possess cards identifying their religion at all times in Israel.

It is de facto that in a Jewish state, non-Jews are second-class citizens - so are Jewish women and ethnic minorities. Israel is far from being a democracy.

What really makes me angry, however, besides the fact that this ongoing campaign is deceiving students into thinking that there is only one right perspective about Israel, is that the "Israel Inspires" campaign is tremendously insensitive to the enormous toll that extremism has exacted from both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. More than 3,000 people have died since widespread violence began a few years ago; suicide bombers, jihad fighters, orthodox Jews and the Israeli army have all willfully killed innocent people.

I have no side in the conflict but that of those who realize how bad extremism is to the welfare of everyday people, Jew or Arab. This obnoxious and insensitive advertising campaign is hoping to convince everyone that everything will be OK if we all just scream "Israel!" If Hillel and other parties involved in "Israel Inspires" truly cared about the Jews and Arabs who have died in vain, they would not be so quick to give their fundamentalist buddies a Hyatt Regency-style pat on the back. Since not everyone has $3,000 to spend on advertising, not everyone's voice will be heard as loudly. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't listen.
Letters to the Daily Targum Editor

The Daily Targum Forum

New York Times buys into Arab propaganda

Is the intifadah an "uprising for statehood" or just plain, old-fashioned jihad?
In coverage of today's Palestinian attack on an American diplomatic convoy, NY Times writers John F. Burns and Greg Myre just have to squeeze this phrase in:
" . . . Palestinian militant groups have launched suicide bombings and other attacks, mostly against Israelis, throughout the uprising for statehood, but it would be the first such direct attack against Americans . . ."
It's a matter of opinion whether this intifadah is an uprising for statehood or just part and parcel of an ongoing Arab Muslim war against "the infidels." Arab Muslims were killing Jews at a steady clip during the period of 1948-1967, when Israel was not a presence in the predominantly Arab territories, when it was Egypt which "occupied" Gaza and Jordan "occupied" the so-called West Bank.

In the years 1951-1955, at least a thousand Israeli Jews were murdered by Arab terrorists.

In fact, the roots of jihad go back to the advent of Islam: Mohammed himself had 800 Jews beheaded in Medina in the year 627 C.E. - Check this out, from The Peace Encyclopedia at Yahoodi.com
A thousand Muslims besieged the fortress of the Bani Qurayzah for 25 days when the Jews eventually opened their gates and threw themselves on Muhammad's mercy. They agreed to a chieftain of a Medinan tribe, Sa'd ibn Muadh, judging them for their treachery to the young Islamic state. The Mosaic law applied to the Jews and their punishment should have been total extermination: "thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth" (Deuteronomy 20, 16). Allah was more merciful than Jehovah however (33:26) and Sa'd's adjudication was to slay the men and take the women and children into captivity. The Prophet was pleased and replied to Sa'd: "Thou hast judged with the judgement of God from above the seven heavens."

In the morning Muhammad ordered long, deep and narrow trenches to be dug in the market place. The seven hundred or so men from Bani Qurayzah were brought in small groups to kneel beside the trench. Then the younger and stronger believers cut off the Jews' heads each with a stroke of a sword. The last to die were beheaded by torchlight.

The women, children and property were divided amongst those who had taken part in the siege. The Bani Nadir ransomed many of their kin but Muhammad kept for himself, as concubine, a beautiful Jewess named Rayhanah.
And this, to boot:
"It is not the 800 Jews of Medina [slaughtered by Mohammed in 627 AD], but millions of infidels slaughtered in subsequent centuries that should make us pause and reflect. Not only that. Those who defend the Prophet [Mohammed] should reflect on the fate of the millions of infidels for whose heads the mujahid's knife is being sharpened in all Islamic countries right at this moment."

- Professor Suhas Majumbar
Jihad: The Islamic Concept of Permanent War
Voice of India, New Delhi, 1994

Anyone out there catching my drift?

UPDATE: Palestinian Attack on American Diplomatic
Convoy in Gaza

The U.S. State Department said the three dead were security personnel accompanying diplomats from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, who were heading to interview Palestinian candidates for Fulbright scholarships.

The U.S. Embassy advised U.S. citizens to leave the Gaza Strip after the attack.

And get this, from AP:
Several hours after the bombing, U.S. investigators arrived at the scene and photographed the mangled van. About a dozen Palestinian youths threw stones at the investigators as about 200 Palestinians looked on.

As the angry crowd chanted "Allahu Akbar" — "God is great" — the Americans rushed back into their cars, surrounded by nervous Palestinian security officers with rifles raised. Palestinian police beat some people in the crowd while pushing the spectators back, and the cars sped away under a hail of stones.
Funny, there's no photos of this incident.

An armed American, second from right, and three armed Israelis escort on foot ambulances carrying the bodies of three Americans killed in the Gaza Strip into Israel, at the Erez border crossing, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2003. A massive explosion ripped through a United States diplomatic vehicle on Wednesday in northern Gaza, killing at least three Americans. The vehicle was part of a U.S. convoy driving near Beit Hanoun. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

An armed American, second from right, shakes hands with an Israeli army officer, after helping escort on foot ambulances carrying the bodies of three Americans killed in the Gaza Strip into Israel, at the Erez border crossing, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2003. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

I love these pictures, but then, I think these are the Good Guys!

See the story of this morning's Palestinian attack on American diplomatic convoy, directly below.
No word yet on official American reaction.

CHUTZPAH: Palestinians attack American Convoy in Gaza

Three Americans killed, one wounded
Associated Press reports this morning that a massive explosion ripped through a U.S. diplomatic vehicle, killing at least three Americans, Palestinian officials said. The vehicle was part of a U.S. convoy driving near the Palestinian town of Beit Hanoun, just south of the Erez crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Israeli military carry out of a helicopter a wounded U.S Embassy security bodyguard after he was evacuated from the Erez crossing north of the Gaza Strip at the Soroka hospital in the southern Israeli town of Beersheba Wednesday Oct. 15, 2003. (AP Photo/Yehuda Lahiani)

There were conflicting reports about the cause of the explosion. Palestinian security officials initially said a suicide bomber jumped in front of the vehicle, while witnesses said a roadside bomb or land mine apparently went off under the car.

Mohammed Radwan, a Palestinian taxi driver, said he was at a nearby gas station when the blast went off. "I was about to fill up my car with gas when I saw the American convoy passing," Radwan said. "There was a Palestinian police car in front and then three big (U.S.) cars. When the third one passed, an explosion went off. The first two cars drove quickly and stopped far form the explosion. Palestinian security people jumped out of the car and rushed to the car that had blown up. When I tried to approach them, they shouted at me to leave. I saw two people covered with blood lying next to the car."

Palestinian policemen search a vehicle in a bomb blast in the Gaza Strip October 15, 2003. Photo by Suhaib Salem/Reuters

Palestinian officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said three Americans were killed and one was wounded. U.S. diplomatic sources said the people in the targeted car apparently were security guards for the U.S. diplomats traveling in the other vehicles.

The body of one of the Americans was taken to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

The device went off near a gas station on Gaza's main north-south road. The explosion tore the van in half and left the wreckage twisted with the tires up in the air. The pavement was stained with blood and littered with bits of flesh.

An AP reporter saw a gray wire with an on-off switch leading from the scene of the attack to a small concrete room at the side of the road.

Israeli reports initially said John Wolf, the head of a U.S. peace monitoring team, was in the convoy. However, U.S. officials later said Wolf was not in the region.
I guess the Palestinians didn't appreciate the American veto of a UN security council resolution yesterday. The resolution condemned Israel for building a security fence to keep suicide bombers out. See below.

US vetoes Security Council Resolution condemning security fence

Israel accused of "overreaction" to terrorism
For the second time in a month, the United States last night exercised its veto power in the UN Security Council to nullify a draft resolution condemning Israel. This time the proposed resolution condemned Israel's construction of the security fence and called for its immediate dismantlement. "We voted against it because it was very unbalanced and didn't condemn the terrorist acts," explained U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte. The Palestinians plan to bring the resolution to the UN General Assembly.

In last night's vote, the U.S. was the only country to vote against the resolution, which was prepared by the UN's Palestinian representative and introduced by Syria, which is a Security Council member. The United Kingdom, Germany, Bulgaria and Cameroon abstained in the vote.

Israel's UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman said in response, "The Palestinian observer should stop for once looking for someone else to blame, stop for once this charade, that the United Nations where high minded rhetoric is matched with resolutions designed to malign and distort, when all the while the Palestinian side refuses to do the one thing it is required to do, fight terrorism."

The vote followed a fierce debate that saw many countries labeling Israel's fence as "racist," "colonialist," a "blatant land-grab," "worse than the Berlin Wall," "a crime against humanity", and an overreaction that would turn some parts of the Palestinian territories into "open-air prisons."

Gillerman said that if the Palestinians would fight terrorism, there would be no need for a security fence. "Those that allow terrorism to exist are the real factor behind the fence's construction," he said.

George Matar has died

Death toll from Haifa restaurant bombing rises to 21
After fighting for his life for 11 days, George Matar, 59, succumbed to his injuries – sustained at the suicide attack on Maxim restaurant in Haifa – and died on Wednesday in the city's Rambam hospital. The death toll of the attack thus rises to 21.

The Matar family are the Arab co-owners of the Maxim restaurant, jointly run by Jews and Arabs. George, a Haifa resident, was an employee of the restaurant, and was working there at the time of the attack. He will be buried Thursday in Haifa's Christian cemetery.

On October 4th, a female suicide bomber detonated herself in the packed beach-front restaurant that served as one of the city's beacons of Arab-Jewish coexistence. Twenty one people, including four children, were murdered in the attack, and scores wounded. -JPOST

The following is taken from "Lessons from the Haifa Suicide Attack (Part II), by Walid Phares:
The owner of "Maxime," the South Haifa restaurant is a Lebanese Christian. George Matar is not an Arab. He is a Maronite from Lebanon whose roots are Aramaic. Many of the workers who got either killed or injured are Lebanese Christian as well. Al-Jazeera -and many Arab media- missed that point, possibly intentionally. For indicating the real ethnic and religious identities of the owners and the workers would open a new file on the Jihadists both in Israel and in the Middle East. Why would the Islamists suicide bombers target a Lebanese Christian restaurant in Israel, knowingly, while they could have attacked an Arab-Muslim culinary establishment. Mainstream Jews in Haifa eat at all kinds of restaurants, especially on a Sabbat. So what's behind Hanadi's mission. Was she there to kill Jews or Christians, or both?

How did "Abu Charbel" (George Matar's acronym) ended up being bombed in Israel by Palestinian Islamic Jihad? Was he part of that war between the Islamists and the Israelis or was he not? If you look at the micro-destinies of law abiding civilians anywhere in the world, they basically want peace and security, should they be Jews, Christians or Muslims. Ideologies transforms them into "missiles" - such as the bomber Hanadi Jaradat or the bombed George Matar. But while we know more about the Jihadists and their views of the world, most around us knows much less about those Christians of Lebanon, crushed in an exploding Middle East.

George Matar, his family and his relatives, including a nephew who died during the blast, few days before his wedding, all of them came from across the border. Up in Lebanon, one million and a half Christians live under Syrian occupation and Hizbollah intimidation. Almost half of the country's population, the Christian ethnic group is the older community of Lebanon. Descendent from the ancient Aramaic, known also as Phoenicians, the Lebanese Maronites and other groups have resisted the onslaught of the Arab-Islamic conquests for more than 13 centuries. Defeated after a 15 years long war with the PLO, Syrians and Islamists, the Christian community fell under the fate of occupied nations in 1990. But for a whole decade, a small portion of these Christians, along with a number of Muslims and Druze, chose to ally themselves with their Jewish neighbor. In the most southern part of the country, they formed an enclave, called by the world, Israel's "security zone." In May 2000, the Clinton Administration and the Barak Government abandoned those "last of the Mohicans" to Hizbollah. More than six thousands Christian Lebanese crossed the borders into Israel, in an unprecedented exodus. Baathist Syria, Khumainist Iran and the Wahabi Jihadists claimed victory. The "infidels were driven out of Lebanon, tomorrow the other infidels will be driven out of Palestine," chanted the Jihadists. Among the thousands of refugees in the Galilee, were men and women who had no other choice but to restart their lives of "infidels" south of their homeland. Matar opened a restaurant in Haifa.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Talk about a "legitimate armed struggle" . . .


An Israeli soldier aims his rifle at a member of the International Solidarity Movement, to stop a group of activists from entering the Beit Elma refugee camp in the West Bank town of Nablus during curfew hours, Thursday Oct. 9, 2003.
(AP Photo/ Majdi Mohammed)

What is the ISM?
from their website:

"The International Solidarity Movement is a Palestinian-led movement of Palestinian and International activists working to raise awareness of the struggle for Palestinian freedom and an end to Israeli occupation. We utilize nonviolent, direct-action methods of resistance to confront and challenge illegal Israeli occupation forces and policies.

As enshrined in international law and UN resolutions, we recognize the Palestinian right to resist Israeli violence and occupation via legitimate armed struggle."

It's 2:41 p.m. Do you know where your children are?

Palestinian caught with gun and knife hidden in baby stroller

Border Police arrested a Palestinian woman at the Hizma checkpoint north of Jerusalem on Tuesday after they found a knife and gun hidden in a baby stroller she was traveling with.

And, get this, she "accidentally took the weapons from the cab she was traveling in."

An accident is what happens when you're walking down the street and a flower pot falls on your head. . .
Never mind, this is too nuts. Read about it in the Jerusalem Post. . .the stroller, that is, not the flower pot.

Title VI in Congress

Martin Kramer says "NOT ON OUR DIME"
I'll try to synopsize:
Title VI is a program of government subsidies for "area studies" in universities, which began as a national defense program in 1958. Its original purpose was to enhance the "national interests" and meet the "national needs" of the United States.

Over the years it has become a semi-entitlement, a fund for "arcane research by grad students bent on academic careers." According to Kramer, universities use Title VI monies "to produce more academics - and nothing else."

Moreover, Title VI has enjoyed a general exemption from any outside input, and has been run by academia.

Back in June the House Subcommittee on Select Education convened hearings on bias in Title VI. These hearings led to the introduction of legislation which would establish a board for Title VI. The bill in question, the International Studies in Higher Education Act (H.R. 3077), does three things:

1. It recalls the original purpose of the program, stating that the country's post-9/11 security requires trained Americans who are "willing to serve their nation" and charges Title VI with assisting in those efforts. Grantee institutions will have to allow unencumbered government recruiting.

2. The bill establishes that academic programs supported by Title VI should "reflect diverse perspectives and represent the full range of views" on international affairs" and activities thereunder should "foster debate on American foreign policy."

I never knew, until lately, that academia was so frightened of real diversity of opinion. The Coalition of International Education is already assuring its members that it is lobbying for "eliminating the language about diverse perspectives." Perverse, isn't it? Kramer puts it this way: "Diversity is one of the great mantras of academe - provided the diversity isn't intellectual." These last years, I never suspected . . . I never knew.

3. Most importantly, the bill establishes a seven-member advisory (not supervisory) board empowered to "study, monitor, apprise and evaluate" activities supported under the Title. It would meet once a year, hold public hearings and then make recommendations to Congress and the Department of Education.

Such an advisory board would provide an instrument, now lacking, to monitor and influence the policies that guide Title VI. At this time of pressing national need (not acknowledged by all), it would take Title VI out of the ivory tower and into a much-needed partnership with the government and the public.

The American Council on Education says this: "The higher education community still is fearful that this board, rather than being just an advisory body, would have too much authority to interfere in the curricular activities of individual institutions and might set a precedent for further federal involvement in the conduct and content of higher education. The American Council on Education will continue to seek further improvements to the bill as it moves to the House floor for consideration. "

As Kramer suggests, read the bill - click here and enter HR3077 for the bill number. The board has power only to make recommendations, which the Secretary of Education is not even obliged to accept. This is "too much authority"?

I always regarded academia so highly; I am appalled to learn how arrogant and disconnected, even nationally suicidal, it has become. It seems to me they have abused their freedom - as well as our federal funds - by circling the wagons around academia, fascistly insisting on strict conformity to (liberal) opinion and policy, and becoming evermore unused to being held accountable.

I understand how threatening the bill will seem to academics; anyone would fight to retain their power. But when I fear sending my son to an American college campus next year, when I expect that -wherever he goes- he will be forced to contend with pervasive institutionalized anti-Zionism, then enough is too much already.

KRAMER SUGGESTS the following:

* Write to the author of the bill, Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich) at tellhoek@mail.house.gov - he needs to hear that there is a consituency that opposes any further erosion of the board's advisory powers.

* Write to Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, at mailbox@gregg.senate.gov - his Committee is the next stop once the bill clears the House.

* Copies to your own congressmen and senators.

This bill is not meant to punish anyone, though universities may see it differently. The hoped-for purpose seems to be to "deepen America's resources for coping with the world." (Amen to that. And if it humbles academia in the process, all the better. They could use it.)

If universities want federal funds without federal purview, then they can do without. I know some Arab countries that would be more than happy to endow them . . . in exchange for the big bucks, our universities have only to poison our children with an Islamic jihadist view of the world. You know, views that are anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, anti-Jewish, anti-semitic . . . .


UPI "analysis" of latest Palestinian crisis - "Democracy of the Gun"
"The Palestinians are in a unique political situation. Unlike some other Arab countries, such as Syria, they do not have a repressive dictatorship and fear of its secret service."
So they've got some of their facts wrong - what do you expect?

Still slightly interesting in its entirety.

From JCPA - Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs' Daily Alert

Purpose of Geneva "Agreement" to Arouse Political Debate in Israel: No Concession on Right of Return, No Recognition of Israel as Jewish State
Kadura Fares, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and a senior member of the Fatah movement, gave an interview to the London newspaper al-Hayat in which he clarified the purpose of the "Geneva understandings." He stated that they were intended to arouse an internal Israeli debate that would stand in opposition to the policy of the Israeli government. He specified that while at Taba the Palestinians were to obtain 87% of the 1967 territories, now they would achieve nearly 100% including Israeli removal of Ariel. He added that the Palestinians did not concede the right of return. Nor did they recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Finally, the Palestinians would acquire full sovereignty over the Temple Mount. (NewsFirstClass-Hebrew/MSN-Israel-Hebrew)
US-occupied Iraq joins Israel boycott
DAMASCUS Oct 12 - Iraq joined 17 other member states for a meeting of the Arab League's Office of Boycotting Israel here Sunday for the first time since the US-led coalition occupied the country in April.

Sabah Abddel Wahab al-Iman, head of the Iraqi mission in Damascus, led his country's delegation to the meeting, the first since the US-appointed interim Governing Council was granted Iraq's seat at the Arab League last month.

Ahmad Khazaa, the Syrian head of the Office of Boycotting Israel, opened the meeting with a call for the continued "economic and political boycott of Israel'' in the face of the "ferocious Zionist offensive'' against the Arab nation.

Delegates will discuss the issue of Israeli companies investing in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq during the meeting which lasts until Thursday, Khazaa said.

The three Arab League members which maintain diplomatic relations with Israel - Egypt, Jordan and Mauritania - were as usual absent from the meeting, as was the troubled Comoro Islands.

Iraq's future relations with Israel have become a controversial issue with pressure from the US-led coalition for the post-Saddam leadership to pursue peaceful ties with all regional states.

Iraq was the only Arab state never to sign an armistice agreement with Israel after the 1948 foundation of the Jewish state. - AFP

Monday, October 13, 2003

Monday morning in Rafah

Supporters of the Islamic militant group Hamas burn the flags of Israel and the U.S. during a demonstration at the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, Monday , Oct. 13, 2003.(AP Photo/Khalil Hamra).

Israeli Left Wingers Make Their Own "Agreement" with Palestinian Authority

Beilin, Mitzna and Burg give away the Temple Mount "on behalf" of Israel -

It's like Kennedy, Clinton and Pelosi giving the national family farm to Al Qaida!
I don't usually address the ins and outs of Israeli government but this is outrageous. Sharon calls it a "catastrophe."
The agreement stipulates that the Temple Mount and most of the Old City of Jerusalem will come under Arab control. The Western Wall will remain Israeli, as will Zion and Dung Gates - but the other city gates will be under Arab control. Jews will be permitted, according to the agreement, to "walk freely" from Jaffa Gate to the Jewish Quarter.

Furthermore, the cities of Ariel and Efrat, as well as most other Jewish communities in Yesha, will be dismantled and evacuated, according to the agreement. All in all, 100,000 Jews are to be evacuated from their homes, according to Beilin/Mitzna/Burg.

The PA negotiators did not give up on the so-called "right of return," contrary to what has been publicized; the terms state that refugees will be able to live in Israel, but only with the agreement of Israel. Hisham Abdel Razek, one of the PA leaders who took part in the talks with Beilin's group, denied openly that his side had made any concessions on this issue. The Beilin/Mitzna/Burg agreement states that Israel will agree to absorb 30,000 refugees and the arrangement known as "reunification of families." The three left-wingers agreed that Israel will build two cities in the PA entity - in the Negev/Gaza and in Shomron - to house a half-million refugees.
Likud MK Coalition Whip Gideon Saar: "insane and ridiculous" agreement being financed by foreign sources in Europe

Justice Minister Tommy Lapid (Shinui): "The only people who can sign such a thing are those who bear no responsibility for the results."

Former PM Ehud Barak (Labor): "fictious and strange, bad in both content and form," "irresponsible and damaging to the State of Israel"

Minister Uzi Landau (Likud): "the left should have performed harakiri (ritual suicide) on itself"

Labor Whip Dalia Itzik said at the end of the day it would be just one more document that will gather dust on the shelf of history.

Jerusalem Post Editorial:
No sane government can allow its foreign policy to be conducted by unauthorized private citizens, any more than it can allow unauthorized citizens to conduct its police or military responsibilities.

For Messrs. Beilin, Mitzna, and Burg, it comes down to this: If they want to run the affairs of state, first they must win an election. And if they want to know why they can't win an election, they need look no further than the Geneva initiative itself.
The Geneva Accord provides a possible key to the end of the conflict. It divides the land of Israel between the State of Israel and the State of Palestine in a way that each can begin a separate and sustainable existence. It declares an end to the conflict and to demands by each side and proffers solutions to all the difficult questions, among them borders, the status of the Temple Mount, control over Jerusalem, the future of the settlements, supervision of the military power of the Palestinian army, and of the armed organizations operating within it, and more . . . a sober look reveals that the principles of the accord are the only formula for reaching a reasonable compromise that will move the two peoples forward to an immeasurably better future.
Yoel Marcus in Haaretz: "Our next screw-up is all over the papers, too. And we're walking straight into it with our eyes wide shut. "

Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom: "There is a government in Israel, and it deals with such matters. Everything else is virtual."

Channel One television reported on Sunday that Israeli citizens will receive a copy of the agreement in the mail. It was not revealed who would pay for the mass mailing

A formal signing ceremony is scheduled for Geneva on November 4, the anniversary of former PM Yitzhak Rabin's assassination.

40,000 at the Kotel Today for the Blessing of the Cohanim

An estimated 40,000 people arrived at the Western Wall (Kotel) this morning for the semi-annual Birkat Cohanim (Priestly Blessing) prayer. Hundreds of Jews who trace their ancestry directly back to Aaron the High Priest, Moses' brother, blessed the assembled congregation - which reached almost as far back as the steps leading down to the Western Wall plaza.

The Priestly Blessing is offered every day during morning prayers in synagogues throughout Israel by whichever Cohanim happen to be there. On Pesach and Sukkot, however, it has become traditional for hundreds of Cohanim to gather at the Kotel for the occasion. Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich, the Western Wall Rabbi, says that today's was one of the largest Birkat Cohanim ceremonies in modern history.

Hundreds of Jews ascended and visited the Temple Mount this morning, with police approval. A large contingent of the Temple Mount Faithful, however, was not permitted to visit the holy site; singing, dancing, and sounding shofarot, they were forced to turn back as they approached the Western Wall's Moghrabim Gate to the Temple Mount.

Chief Rabbis Shlomo Amar and Yonah Metzger greeted visitors this morning in the Western Wall plaza Sukkah.

A Klezmer festival of some 20 musicians and bands will open this evening in the Old City, and will continue tomorrow as well. Performances will take place from Migdal David (the Tower of David) to Ir David (the City of David, below and to the southeast of the Temple Mount).

For the second day in a row, tens of thousands of Jews are in Hevron, celebrating the renewed Jewish presence there with Hassidic music performances and tours of the various sites.

In Psagot this afternoon, just north of Jerusalem, a new Torah scroll will be joyously introduced into the local synagogue in memory of Rabbi Yossi Dickstein, his wife Chana, and their son Shuvael, who were murdered last year in a terrorist shooting attack, leaving nine orphans. Many hundreds of people are expected to take part.

Prime Minister Sharon will host new-immigrant soldiers in his Sukkah in the Negev today.

Another Sukkot Miracle

from Arutz Sheva:
A home in the Jewish Gaza community of Kfar Darom, just north of the Gush Katif bloc, sustained a direct hit from a Palestinian-fired mortar shell late this afternoon. The roof was damaged only slightly, as the shell did not explode, and no one was hurt. Yesterday morning, too, a shell hit a tree in the town, and again no one was hurt.

Asher Mivtzari, spokesman for Kfar Darom, told Arutz-7's Yosef Meiri,
"We are just now on the way to Netzer Hazani, in Gush Katif, for our annual local Sukkot celebration. Just two days ago, one of many shells fired in their direction hit a home there and caused great damage, but miraculously hurt no one. We will not let the terrorists put a stop to our holiday joy."

Yay, DEBKA's back!

DEBKAfile reports exclusively: Syria calls up 50,000 reservists in case of US military action and more Israeli raids. Damascus has offered Washington Saddam’s stash of $700 million in Syrian banks for handover to governing council in Baghdad

DEBKA-Net-Weekly: Jordanian King Abdullah’s personal physician Dr Ashraf al Kurdi secretly diagnoses Arafat as sinking fast after acute heart attacks. Abu Ala races rivals for succession.

The new prime minister, has told the ruling Fatah party he wants to quit once the term of his temporary government expires because of sharp disagreements with Yasser Arafat over the appointment of a security chief. ( AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

Over two months now and not a peep from Oxford

6 August 2003

A University spokesperson said:

"Further to the statement of 4 July 2003, the Vice-Chancellor has confirmed that the matter concerning Professor Andrew Wilkie will be heard by the University's disciplinary panel for academic staff, known as the Visitatorial Board.

"The University will not comment any further on this case as it has been referred to the Visitatorial Board."
See Oxford News Releases July 4 and August 6.

News from Rutgers

From an AP article today, there was apparently an off-campus brawl involving a fraternity, a social club and members of the wrestling team. The substance of the article is of no interest to me, but the last line, quoting Rutgers President Richard McCormick, is:
[The school] "will pursue all appropriate actions against any Rutgers students who took part in the incident."
I just wonder why he didn't say that about Abe Greenhouse when that student threw a pie in the face of Natan Sharansky. That incident, and the lack of fallout (onto Abe) afterward, continues to bug me.

Rallies Galore
The Rutgers Daily Targum today features two articles about 'Israel Inspires' events - here and also here - and another about the counter-rally, denouncing 'Israel Inspires.'

Photo from the Daily Targum: Samia Shoman, left, and Silvia Sweidan from California hold pro-Palestine signs Saturday outside Cooper Dining Hall on Douglass campus.

Among a dozen other speakers at the counter-rally, "author and activist" Tariq Ali called for "a battle of ideas." He said, "If we are united [against President Bush and British PM Blair], ultimately even the biggest, the greatest, the largest, the most powerful empires will begin to shake and tremble."

If you have lots of time to spare, you may want to check out this interview with Tariq Ali - from the "Conversations with History" series at UC-Berkeley's Institute for International Studies. It begins like this:
Welcome to a Conversation with History. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our guest today is Tariq Ali, who is a writer, broadcaster, filmmaker, and a major figure in the European New Left. He is the author, most recently, of The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads, and Modernity, and is an editor of the New Left Review. He's on the Berkeley campus to deliver the 2003 Sanford S. Elberg Lecture in International Studies.
P.S. - Hanan Ashrawi was also a Sanford S. Elberg Lecturer (2000).

I wonder what Dr. Elberg, Professor Emeritus of Bacteriology and Dean Emeritus of the Graduate Division, thinks of what is being said under the rubric of honoring his name.

I know he was in the thick of things at Berkeley in the 60s. I'll see what I can find out.

Warning Issued to British Jewish Community: Terror Attack 'Imminent'

via the British blog, JewishComment
LONDON, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- Scotland Yard has warned Britain's Jewish community it faces imminent terrorist attacks, the Jerusalem Post reported Monday.

U.S. State Department officials are considering issuing an official travel advisory to U.S. citizens visiting Britain, the report said.

The State Department said there have been no comparable threats against Jewish targets in the United States.

A Scotland Yard official said that while the terrorist threat level remains high in Britain, there is no intelligence on specific threats.

On Sunday, Newsweek reported some of the concern about terrorist threats to Britain's Jews appears related to suspicious Iranian activities.

It quoted security sources as saying police had questioned a group of Iranian "tourists" in recent weeks after they were spotted covertly taking video pictures of Jewish community buildings in London.

Swiss authorities traced a similar surveillance operation involving a Jewish target in Geneva about a year ago to an Iranian diplomatic mission, Newsweek said.

Earlier this year, Teheran claimed to have arrested significant al-Qaida suspects, but recent intelligence, Newsweek said, suggests the suspects were released and have returned to hideouts in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
VERY IMPORTANT CONTEXT: Please read JewishComment's Open Letter to British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook and their first-hand account of the Marks & Spencer demonstration, which includes this outrageous bit:
". . . the crowning glory was an elegantly-dressed businessman next to me who seemed normal except for the fury in his eyes. He said, ‘I love and revere the suicide bombers. Every time I hear of a suicide bomb going off I wish it had been eighty or ninety Jews instead of a pitiful handful.’ He then went on to shout at everyone around him every time someone tried to speak, and had reached a point of hysteria -- ‘You people have been trying to acquire land across the entire globe and will soon own every nation if you are not stopped!’ -- when, thankfully, a policewoman came over. I can think of some poeple who, had they been armed would be in prison tonight because his suggestion that not enough Jews are killed each time a bomb goes off ‘made one crazy’ as the saying goes, but I was pleased to see that the policewoman was making every effort to book him."

A Word on Bush Hatred

Submitted to the Boulder Weekly
As an innocent bystander to the Bush hatred which permeates political discourse in this town, I’d like to offer some observations.

The Feel Good generation doesn’t feel good anymore, and they’re pissed. I can understand it: life has disappointed, the world has changed and it’s not fair. The world was our playground and then it rained on our parade. It wasn’t supposed to be like this, and since George Bush isn’t one of us, and we didn’t vote for him, and it happened on his watch, then it must be all his fault that we don’t feel good anymore.

When Clinton was president, people weren’t crashing planes into the Twin Towers and we weren’t facing the enormity of balancing the luxury of freedom with the necessity of safety. We enjoyed great prosperity, which we used in the quest to Feel Good. Remember the bumper sticker, “Sh*t Happens”? Well, it’s true, and it’s altogether possible that George Dubya didn’t cause it all.

Statistically, in the summer months, the incidence of rape increases, as does the amount of ice cream eaten. Yet, applying rationality and logic, it would be ludicrous to infer a causal relationship. I’m not saying there’s no relationship between President Bush and current events, but it is not enough to note their concurrence. To discriminate cause and effect requires exercise of the intellect. If our response to the important and complex questions of our day is naught but an emotional reaction, we increase confusion at the expense of clarity.

The Feel Good generation has always considered themselves important and has always wanted to Make a Difference. Well, here and now is the chance. Having subjected us all to your temper tantrum, can we not move on? Can we not dig a little deeper? How You Feel may be the most important aspect of current events for you, but it has become a dead weight on the conversation.

After years of therapy and self-improvement, one would hope that the lessons of all those workshops might now pay off. Your exorbitant anger is not interesting to the rest of us, and it has not helped. Surely, as we try to discern right action, we can come up with something more substantial and less hasty than the conclusion that all good resides with you, and all evil with the President. Quick and easy is helpful only when making dinner.

The world has changed and so must we. “Random and senseless” may have been a sufficient philosophy for the Clinton years, but it so happens that more is required of us now. Instead of random, let us choose that which is consistent; instead of senseless, let us become thoughtful.

Anne Lieberman